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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
Maya. Post BDM. Hank is in trouble ... Please leave feedback, as it's the only way I know if the story is headed in the right direction! PG for encroaching horror.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 2419 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
“Hank?” Kaylee looked around. “Thought he went shopping too.”
“He did,” Zoe said, looking past them, her eyes still skipping through the crowds. “He’s late.”
“He probably just got caught up, looking for something nice for you,” Simon assured her. “Is Bethany okay?”
Zoe nodded distractedly. “She’s napping.”
Freya turned and looked out at the people passing by. “You’re thinking something’s wrong.”
“Just got a feeling …” Zoe admitted.
Mal, Jayne and River materialised, the former carrying what looked like metal stanchions.
“Mal, have you seen Hank?” Freya asked, her head lifting as if she was scenting the air.
“Nope. Why?” Serenity’s captain put down the lamp he was carrying with a relieved sigh. “He finally decided he’s had enough of us and skipped?” He smiled, but it faltered as he caught the look on Zoe’s face.
“I don’t think so, sir,” she murmured, still searching.
Hank forced his eyes open and grimaced. Gorramit, but that light was bright.
“Just lie still,” a voice close to him said.
He tried to turn his head, but the sudden pain in it made him sweat.
“She told you to lie still.” A man this time, from the other side.
Hank was only too happy to oblige. “Where …?” he managed to say, his voice cracking and dry.
“You’re in the sickbay. Do you remember what happened?”
“On Wayborn. You were brought here. Someone found you.”
“You were attacked. On one of the lower levels. Do you remember?”
He closed his eyes and thought for a moment. He’d docked Serenity, he remembered that. Then changed quickly and gone looking for … His eyes sprang open. “Three men,” he croaked. “Came at me. Hit me.”
“You were mugged. It’s been happening a lot here lately, but the Alliance are cracking down. You were lucky, though.”
“Lucky?” Hank felt various aches and pains reporting themselves. “That what you call it?”
“Some people interrupted it. Brought you here.” There was movement at the periphery of his vision but he couldn’t tell what it was. “Is there anyone you’d like us to contact? Your ship?”
The image of his beautiful Zoe sprang into his mind. “How long have I been here?”
“About four hours.”
She would be mad. He’d said he was only going to be an hour, at the most. “My … Zoe. She’s on board Serenity. A Firefly.”
A figure swam into view, a nurse from the outfit, and Hank tried to focus on her. “We’ll get her for you.”
“Am I okay?” he asked.
“It’s just concussion. Nothing else.”
He thought she was smiling but couldn’t be sure. “That’s good.”
“You must have fought back,” the nurse went on, settling the blanket around him comfortably. “Your hands are somewhat grazed, and you still had your money on you.”
“That’s good.” Hank was more than happy to hear that. Zoe would never forgive him if he lost some of the Magdalene coin.
“Why don’t you try and get some rest? As soon as she gets here, we’ll bring her in.”
He nodded, then wished he hadn’t as pain flared again behind his eyes to war with the rest of his body. “Good idea,” he said.
“Oh, just one other thing. You didn’t seem to have any Ident on you. What’s your name?”
“Hank. Hank Mills.”
He didn’t see the look that passed between the nurse and the doctor.
“That’s fine,” the nurse said. “Now, just close your eyes and try to get some sleep.”
“Whatever you say.”
Mal was organising a search party when a young man in an official looking uniform paused on the concourse outside Serenity. He glanced at the ship, then at the docking information. He approached the group of people.
“Mr Reynolds?” he asked, looking from one to the other.
“I’m Captain Reynolds.” Mal turned to look at him.
“I’m from the Skyplex management. There’s a man in our sickbay says he’s come off your ship.”
Zoe stepped quickly forwards. “Hank?”
“I believe it is a Mr Hank Mills, yes.”
“Is he hurt?”
“I don’t have that information. But if you’d care to come with me …”
Zoe was already starting to move.
“Best show us the way, son,” Mal said.
“He’ll be fine,” the administrator said. “The concussion’s wearing off, and he hasn’t broken anything. Just a few bruises.”
Mal could feel his first mate relax a little, and heard relieved sighs from the rest of his crew behind him. “That’s good. Can our medic take a look at him? Just as a second opinion?”
Simon began to step forward, but the administrator shook his head slowly. “I’m afraid that … Mr Mills may be recovering nicely, but there is another problem.”
“He admits his name is Hank Mills, which is what the DNA tracer says. However, our records also state that Hank Mills died on Praxis during the war. And as you can see, this man is very much alive.”
“Records can be wrong,” Mal said, crossing his arms.
“Not the Alliance.”
“You think?” He smiled. “And during the war, ain't no way of knowing which corpse is which, state some of ‘em were in.” The smile faded. “All you need to know is that he’s my pilot, and I’d kinda like him back.”
“It’s not as easy as that,” the administrator said. “His DNA also brought up an Alliance flag. He’s wanted for questioning with regards to a recent crime.”
Mal swiftly went through every job they’d pulled lately. “How recent?”
“Very. A murder.”
“Murder?” Mal’s eyebrows threatened to disappear into his hair. “Hank?”
“Two, in fact. On Ibis.”
Mal felt Zoe stiffen next to him, and his own belly tightened. “Ibis?”
“I don’t have all the details, but he’s in custody awaiting the arrival of Federal officers.”
“Look, I don’t know what you think he is, but he ain't a killer.”
“That is beside the point. His DNA has been identified at the site of a crime, and he has to be questioned.”
Mal held his anger in check, pushing it back into his gut. “When?”
“Well, our own officers are due back from a call tomorrow, so they’ll interview him then. If they think he has something to answer, he’ll be taken back to Ibis.”
Zoe was about to speak, to quite possibly make matters worse. Mal got in first. “Can we see him?”
The man looked at them all. “One of you only. And you leave the gun outside.”
“Okay.” Mal was about to undo his gunbelt, then glanced at Zoe. “Give me your gun,” he said, holding out his hand.
“You go in. Make sure he’s okay.” She was going to argue, he could feel it, that he was the captain and should see to his crew, and he smiled at her, just a curve of his lips. “We ain't going anywhere, Zo. We’ll work this out.”
The door opened, and Hank turned his head to look. “Zoe!” He was so pleased to see her he tried to push himself into a sitting position, then groaned as his ribs ached.
She was at his side immediately, her strong arm holding him as she rearranged the pillows behind him. “Can’t you do anything without getting into trouble?” she asked, settling him back.
“I'm fine, honey,” he said, his face a picture of happiness. “’Specially now I can see you.”
“What were you doing on that level?” She sat down on the edge of the bed. “It’s away from everything.”
He looked shame-faced. “I was … truth is I was looking for something specific. Something I … I wanted to buy for you.”
“Yeah. Something … see, back on my home world, there’s a bracelet you give to the woman you’re gonna … well, who’s having your baby.”
“The woman you’re going to … what, Hank? Marry?”
He suddenly found his hands really interesting. “Maybe.”
“And you were going to buy this bracelet for who?”
“Well, that was … sorta … gonna be you.”
He looked up at her. “Only I wasn't gonna ask. I mean, I was, but not yet. You’ve not said anything but what with the looks I've been getting from Mal occasionally, I just thought … it was only gonna be a gift, Zoe.” His eyes were pained, almost pleading.
“Okay. A gift I would accept.”
The pain flashed to gratefulness. “Great.”
“But I'm not marrying you.”
The light in his eyes dimmed a little. “Well, we can discuss that.”
She ignored the comment. “But that doesn’t explain why you were down on that level.”
“I’d been in all the jewellery places, with no luck, but I guess someone heard me asking, and they came up to me, told me about a place … down … there …”
“It was them, wasn't it?”
“I think it probably was.”
“You were damned lucky, Hank. They coulda just shot you, or knifed you … they didn’t have to just beat up on you.”
“Just?” he yelped. “I am gonna have bruises the size of –“
“You could be dead.”
“Okay. I'm an idiot. I accept that.” He put his head back. “Zo, I think my money’s in that drawer.” He pointed towards the small cabinet next to the door. “Can you take it back to Serenity? Not that I don’t trust people, but … I don’t want it pinched.”
“Sure.” She stood up, crossing to the unit and opening the drawer. Sure enough, inside was a small wedge of notes.
“And I'm sorry.”
She turned to look at him. “What for?”
“Nearly losing the cash. I know you’d’ve been angry if –“ He stopped in astonishment as she glared at him. “What?”
“You think I care more about this than … than you?” Her dark eyes were flaming with intensity.
“No, but I –“
“Hank, if anything had happened to you …” She took a deep breath, closing her eyes briefly. “You don’t know me at all, do you?”
“No, it’s just –“
She sat back down on the edge of the bed, running her hand through his untidy hair. “Hank, when I thought something had happened to you, it was you that I was worried about. Not the yuh bun duh money.”
“Oh.” He sat back. Then a smile formed on his face. “Oh.”
“You are an idiot,” she said softly.
“Yeah, well, that kinda goes with the territory.” The smile faded. “Still, if what the administrator said is true, and I'm about to become a guest of the Alliance, you may have to do a bit more of that worrying.”
“We won’t let that happen.”
He sighed happily. “Then that makes it okay, then.”
Donaldson watched as Niska’s men dragged the remains of the girl out, leaving a blood trail across the floor. He’d never seen anything so barbaric, so violent, having had to look away for most of the time. And when the man had turned his rage and hate-filled face on them, throwing himself at the window in an attempt to get to them, he had stepped back, and he knew his dreams were going to be filled with the sight of that mouth yelling at them, blood and flesh still clinging to his cheeks. It had taken more than a dozen shots to take him down.
Niska, on the other hand, had watched the proceedings with apparent enjoyment, almost admiration. He tutted, though, as the man had finally used a scalpel to slice her throat.
“Still no control,” he murmured. “Is still too strong.” He clicked his fingers and motioned for another man to start cleaning up. “The brainwave emissions … you are sure they are correct?”
Donaldson nodded, clearing his throat, seeing himself reflected in Niska’s round glasses, and wondering if he normally looked that pale. “The recordings are accurate. All our research suggests that it should calm them down, make them biddable.”
“Perhaps your subject is not suitable.”
“Oh, she’s the real deal.” Donaldson wiped his face on his handkerchief and thrust it back into his pocket. “With her pedigree she has to be.”
“Then if I were able to see her for myself, use her first hand, as you say …”
Donaldson shook his head. “Sorry. That just isn’t possible. If there’s even the slightest risk of our activities coming to light, there would be questions raised at the highest level. You’ll have to make do with the recordings.”
Niska shrugged and picked up a small glass vial from the box on the control desk. A thick clear liquid moved lazily inside, while half a dozen tiny green chips floated within. “Is hard to believe, yes? I drop this, and the air outside reacts with the substance inside … Enough to wipe out half a world.”
Donaldson licked his lips but held his ground. “You’re not going to get her, Niska, no matter what you say. I know you think you’d be more likely to succeed, but what if there was an accident? Can you imagine what would happen if she became exposed to this stuff? Not just a Reaver, but a superReaver? If she could control them all, direct them to her will?”
“Is not what you want?”
“And risk the whole project?” Donaldson shook his head. “No way. Just isn’t going to happen.”
“As you wish.” He placed the vial back in the case next to the three empty spaces. “And I am not so stupid as to risk myself, Mr Donaldson.” He smiled. “But we must reduce the quantity even more. In order to –“
One of Donaldson’s men approached them, handing his boss a note. As he read it, Donaldson smiled. “Well, here’s an interesting thing. They’ve caught one of the men who killed my suppliers.”
“Oh, I think there was more than one. They were too good. At least, usually.” He waved the note. “Seems he’s the pilot of a ship called Serenity, that’s docked –“
Niska’s head jerked up. “Is Malcolm Reynold’s ship?”
“That’s what it says. Why?”
“And this man, he works for him.”
Donaldson’s brow furrowed. “Do you know him?”
“Captain Reynolds is, how shall I say, an old friend.” This time, when he smiled, the ‘uncle’ persona slipped a little. “This man. This pilot. Bring him to me. I think he should help our little experiment. Yes?”
to be continued
Thursday, April 26, 2007 5:41 AM
Thursday, April 26, 2007 7:09 AM
Thursday, April 26, 2007 6:57 PM
Wednesday, May 9, 2007 9:27 AM
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